Quote: “Getting better at something requires the permission for me to be terrible at it. If I want to get stronger, I have to viscerally experience the reality of my weakness.”
(This letter may, at first, seem like it’s only about your personal growth, but it’s also about connecting with and understanding your future clients who need your support.)
Being good or bad at something is entirely relative and depends on what I am comparing it to.
The skills that I seem to excel at today are only impressive in comparison to my abilities 10 years ago. However, when compared to my potential for future growth, my current abilities are not so impressive.
The same can be said when comparing myself to other people. Next to one person, I may seem like an expert, while next to another person I may seem like a beginner.
A friend called the other day and asked what I was up to. I said, “I’m devouring some online content in the hopes of becoming a better writer.”
She replied, “Gosh, that’s so surprising, you’re already such an amazing writer.”
I quickly shot back, “ugh, but it’s obvious to me that I’m not, and I could be so much better.”
For Better or Worse
It doesn’t hurt my feelings to see myself as a terrible writer because the “terribleness” I see makes it clear where I want, need to, and can improve. Sure, I recognize the progress I’ve made in my ability to communicate through writing, and I’m grateful for that. Moreover, I recognize the value this skill has brought to my life and to those who enjoy my writing.
However, this value received and shared, I estimate to be at 20% capacity. That means there is so much more value available to be experienced if I can improve my skill level.
There is an obvious potential trap in believing that I am good or bad at something. Whenever I have this thought, my mind inevitably asks, “Yes, but compared to whom or what?” I get the sense that it doesn’t matter so much whether I think I’m good or not, what matters is: What is the value-opportunity of that skill?
The Value Opportunity (equation)
There are literally a thousand different areas you can improve. The path of improving requires the limited resources of time and attention (focus).
In the same way, there are a thousand different investment opportunities, and, obviously, you can’t invest in them all.
Why? Why would we consciously and intentionally get better at something? Because we recognize the value such an improvement would have on our lives.
The same applies to investing. Why would we invest in something? Because we recognize the potential value it can/will bring. This is the ROI, the Return on Investment.
Since I have limited resources (time and attention), I cannot improve in a thousand areas simultaneously. Therefore, I need to be smart about where to focus.
Consider being clear about the following
- Receive | The Desired Future Experience
- Give | The Value I Give that invites that future experience
- Grow | The Required Skills to deliver that value
As you envision your desired future, it involves doing more of what you enjoy in a more enjoyable way. The key here is whether you can create this future by doing what you enjoy.
The answer is yes, but only if what you enjoy doing provides an equal exchange of value for the desire experienced.
I might enjoy the act of writing, but if that writing doesn’t add value to other people’s lives, then I’m likely putting that energy into a void.
This would be like investing in a friend’s business because you like that friend, and you enjoy helping them, but you haven’t done the due diligence to see if their business actually offers real value. Therefore, you put your money into a void.
Sure, you’re allowed to write for the sake of writing, and maybe there’s the personal benefit of relaxing and simply enjoying yourself; that’s fine. However, we must consider our limited resources of time and attention.
If my desired future experience involves doing what I enjoy doing and getting paid well for it (receive value in return), then what I do must add enough value to receive that desired value in return.
Grow, Give, Receive
The 3 questions, more simply…
- What value do I want to experience? (Receive)
- What is the value I can give in exchange? (Give)
- What are the skills I need to develop, so I can deliver that value? (Grow)
Before we start with question 3 about developing our skills, we need to be clear about question 1, and then question 2.
For myself, when I contemplate the future I’d like to experience, there are only 3 primary areas that everything falls into.
- Health (self)
- Relationships (others)
- Financial Freedom (life & service)
I love the opportunity to clearly define these areas (RECEIVE), and then be completely honest with myself about what I am willing to give in exchange for the value I desire to receive (GIVE).
Additionally, to improve in these areas, so I can give more to receive more, I need to be honest with myself about where I’m “terrible.” This will indicate where I must focus to improve (GROW).
If I ignore my weaknesses, there is no chance for improvement.
(Note: it is totally possible to find ways around our weaknesses where we can accept them as weaknesses that don’t necessarily need improvement. However, this still requires being deeply aware of them.)
The Required Process
You cannot receive without giving. You cannot fill up a cup that has not yet emptied itself out.
Perhaps this touches on the concept of entitlement, where we assume that what we want to experience should be given to us freely. From a spiritual perspective, entitlement implies a separation. It suggests that something “out there” (that I am separate from) will provide me with what I want.
Without such separation, I see that what I receive is a direct reflection of what I’m willing and capable of giving. In effect, everything I receive – I am ultimately giving to myself.
If this is true, then it is excellent news.
To receive more value, all I need to do is give more value. What I cannot do… is simply expect or assume that life and others should give me something of value without me offering up an equal value (energy) exchange.
To truly see how inescapable this is, at least for myself, sets my heart on fire; it ignites a “holy shit” moment, where the path becomes infinitely more clear and see just how important it is that I get focused and honor the life I’ve been given.
What does this have to do with your current or future clients?
So, so, so much.
The value you offer to other people is the value of helping them connect with more of the value they desire to experience. They, too, are looking to RECEIVE more value. Which also means, they need to GROW.
What’s the fastest way to grow at something? Dive into it, find instructions. Find someone else who knows how to do it and knows how to teach it well, and have them guide you (someone you resonate with). What’s the slower, but acceptable, way of growing? Trying to figure it out on your own.
In a way, I’m helping you now by sharing with you my reflections. I’m giving value. You’re receiving value by giving me your time and attention, which is an extension of your need to grow.
I’m giving you value, you’re giving me your attention, that attention is feedback that helps me improve (grow) the value I give. Over time, the value I give grows, and the value you receive grows.
Eventually, either you or someone else will have the brilliant idea of asking me:
“Hey Tiger, Can you help me with this directly? Can I have more of your attention? It would save me so much time and headache, and I could experience the value I desire to receive much faster. It would probably be way more fun too!”
(the link in the quote goes to info about my heart-based solopreneur group training program)
This is a given, it’s an inevitability, it has to happen (it does happen), but only if I’m growing and increasing my capacity to deliver real and tangible value.
There is a slower way to grow: wandering around in the dark, wanting to improve, but not focusing your time and attention (resources) on what would actually help you grow. This approach can be more painful because as you walk around in the dark or low-light areas, you may smash into things due to the lack of clarity.
These Sunday Letters to Solopreneurs are gifts of light that help you see “a little bit” more clearly. They show you how it really is possible for you to receive the value you desire to experience. At least… that’s my intention 😂.
My skill and enjoyment of writing serve the purpose of allowing me to do other things I enjoy even more. Such as working directly with people and being “hands-on” (group training link) in the development of their vision to add value to people’s lives – while getting paid well for it in the process.
Becoming a better writer (giving more value in my writing) helps me connect with the “RIGHT PEOPLE” so I can receive more value (my desired future experience) by helping the “RIGHT PEOPLE” embrace and develop their value.
As a heart-based solopreneur, you are doing something similar in one way or another.